Motorists traveling I-69 south of Fort Wayne in the Grant County area will notice a new kind of electric transmission towers going up along the highway as part of a project to improve system performance while minimizing environmental impacts.
Traditional four-legged lattice towers are being replaced with new Breakthrough Overhead Line Design or BOLD transmission towers which use a single pole with a crescent-shaped arc at the top.
The BOLD tower’s lower profile is more aesthetically pleasing, and its design has technological
advantages, maximizing system performance while minimizing environmental impacts and
overall system costs.
The BOLD towers are more compact, requiring less physical ground space and fewer pieces of equipment that would add to complexity and cost. The single pole reduces or eliminates avian nesting, potentially reducing outages caused by birds.
AEP engineers developed the BOLD design, which has won several awards, including an International Tower Design Award.
I&M first used the BOLD design on a power line from a substation near Roanoke, Ind., to north of Fort Wayne. While that line crossed some major highways, the line now under construction runs parallel to Interstate 69 for about 3 miles, roughly from the Van Buren area north of Indiana 18 to the Indiana 5 / Indiana 218 exit.
The towers going up near I-69 are part of I&M’s Roanoke-to-Marion project, which involves rebuilding an aging 138-kiloVolt transmission line from a substation near Roanoke to the Deer Creek substation in Marion, located adjacent to I&M’s first solar generation plant. In all, more than 200 BOLD towers are included in the project, including more than 20 near I-69 between the Van Buren area and the Indiana 5 / Indiana 218 exit west of Warren.
The new line with the BOLD towers is replacing a line that dates back decades, and crews are removing the older lattice towers. The aging infrastructure is due for replacement to help ensure
reliability to meet current and future demand for energy.